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Prospect of open records makes IL Catholic Conference fearful of potential lawsuits

Bastardette has been doing an AMAZING job of both covering and organizing against IL’s HB4623. She has a whole series of blog posts about the disastrous legislation. (Go read them!!! Then get off your butt and work to crush HB 4623!)

But some of what I’m finding most interesting are some of the responses to the legislation from people like the Illinois Catholic Conference , see their linked statement on IL HB 4623, which I’ll quote here at length-

“We are concerned that in those adoptions that have taken place before the effective date of the legislation, the changes under this legislation will lead to a breach of the implied confidentiality between a birth parent and an adoption agency, like Catholic Charities. Client confidentiality is a premise of social work practice unless otherwise stated when it will not be possible. Though there may not have been written confidentiality agreements, particularly in older adoption cases, it was commonly understood among all the parties that there would be confidentiality based on this premise of client confidentiality. In addition, agencies have followed set procedures that also establish this confidentiality with clients. This legislation attempts to change the understandings that were established in past client situations and attempts to undo promises made in good faith with birth parents who put their trust into the agency.

This breach of implied confidentiality then also raises possible legal implications. Birth parents have relied on this understanding of confidentiality when they were clients of agencies, and under the proposed changes in HB 4623, this confidentiality is then broken, raising potential for lawsuits against agencies. This potential legal consequence of HB 4623 for adoption agencies that acted in good faith should be given consideration.

While our Catholic Charities agencies now have moved to facilitating adoptions with as much openness as all the parties involved are comfortable with, this legislation will impact adoption cases that were conducted under a different set of understandings and during a different era or context of adoption practice. We need to move cautiously and understand the breadth of the implications and consequences of this significant change in access to original birth certificates, especially in older adoption cases. “

Setting aside for the moment the complete bullshit that is, as they title that section the “Breach of Implied Confidentiality”,

(particularly since no documented actual promises of so called ‘confidentiality’ relating to adoption have ever been produced- and the fact that many original parents were promised quite the opposite by their agencies, catholic or otherwise- they were oft times promised that when the kid turned 18 they’d come back to find them.)

allow me instead, to focus on the stunning meat of the admission sitting in the midst of that text- that these people are sweating bullets. That if records are opened these people are terrified of staring down massive, potentially agency crushing, certainly public relations crushing lawsuits, presumably by all members of the so called ‘triad’ (which is another indirection related fairy tale bit of terminology.)

While they may whine about ‘good intentions’ and the changing times and norms in relation to adoption, the bottom line remains, they have openly announced that what’s in those records may not merely not reflect well on them, it may provide evidence for (their word not mine) “lawsuits”. An amazing admission.

To try to mitigate the impending disaster (to their perspective) of ever increasing expectations of openness in adoption, along with the growing numbers of states that have actually opened records, the IL Catholic Conference offers two band-aids; that open records only be prospective, going forward in time, not back. (Such that all past misdeeds get swept under the rug, all while being mislabled “adoption reform”), and that going forward, those who will be gaining access to information also undergo a ‘counseling’ process at the hands of an “assisting entity” (Catholic Charities being their preference, of course.)

After all, having a fox watching the henhouse is always beneficial- to the fox.

Fortunately, when it comes to “assisting entities” and (catholic) adopta-therapeutracies, we have Bastardette to the rescue to help untangle that particular knot in her incredibly important piece aptly titled- “Some thoughts on the therapeutcracy and sealed records.”

Which is where I posted the following comment-

“Brilliant piece, Bastardette!

Note the specifics- not just any ole adopta-therapeutracy, Catholic adopta-therapeutracy, horrified at the notion of individuals conducting their interpersonal affairs without the involvement of any “assisting entity”, obviously Catholic Charities being their preference.

You know- Catholic Charities, the motherfuckers who in some states nickel and dime (to the tune of big bucks!) Bastards for every scrap of information about themselves they dain pass along (while in other states or municipalities they just hand it over, never ones to let a little thing like consistency get in their way.)

My personal fave bit still being the admission inherent in this part of their argument-

“under the proposed changes in HB 4623, this confidentiality is then broken, raising potential for lawsuits against agencies.”

Their ‘self interest’ in the legislation is that they know damn well if records were ever opened they could be facing down massive lawsuits.

So then, does that mean what’s in those records may well be evidence of wrongdoing?

Seems obvious enough to me.

There are reasons they want the records sealed, or at minimum to have Catholic Charities in the midst of ANY process whereby information from those records becomes available.

Simply put, they’re afraid they would be sued to the waterline so they want control and a means by which to ‘contextualize’ thereby defang potential litigants.

Fascinating how a bill this terrible finally forces their hand to the point where they outright admit their raw terror at even the prospect of lawsuits.

Can there be a more compelling argument for opening records than to for the first time finally reveal the crimes that may well be documented therein?

Surely for such to be prosecuted, the evidence must come to light while the wronged still live and the criminals are still around to prosecute.

Is it any wonder so many up to their elbows in such filth would rather just ‘wait us out’ until all involved parties are long dead?

Is it any wonder they defend sealed records as if their lives depend on it? When facing down potential lawsuits and perhaps even criminal prosecution/jail time, of course they’d rather State enforced secrecy hide all past evidence.


Perhaps instead of mandating ‘counseling’ through “assisting entities” the State could instead provide legal aid.

After all, was it not the State itself that impounded the evidence and by law kept it from us? The State’s policies of sealed records have been part of the obfuscation and enabling processes. (Hint, it’s a hell of a lot easier to do rotten things when you know the State is going to lock away the evidence.)

4 Responses to “Prospect of open records makes IL Catholic Conference fearful of potential lawsuits”

  1. Baby Love Child Says:

    While I fully understand they are using the “lawsuit” term in relation to the context of ‘breach of (nonexistent) “implied confidentiality”, I take that purely as an ass covering maneuver.

    The bottom line is- they don’t want those records open- ever, certainly not in any way that would be beyond their control.

    So while they may hide behind ‘protecting birthmothers’ (who if one looks at for example Oregon’s stats after their records were opened apparently tend overwhelmingly not to WANT to be ‘protected’ from their own offspring) that excuse falls flat.

    While the agencies and organizations try to hide behind the pretense of ‘confidentiality’, I’m convinced their real fears and concerns over lawsuits are directly related to the release of the records themselves and the reconnections between Original Parents and Bastards, who, when they are able to reconnect the State separated puzzle pieces sometimes begin to find ‘irregularities’.

  2. Marley Greiner Says:

    Great blog, BLC! The Catholic Conference, though speaking for itself, speaks for the adoption industry when it declares that the documents and information must be mediated through them. As professionals, they obviously know much more than we bastard stiffs. What they really are saying is that the industry needs to mediate the information to cover its collective ass.

    One other thing, which I mentioned in my blog (Bastardette) is The Illinois Catholic Conference’s claim that information on an obc could be false! I have never heard any industrialist admit falsification of government birth records before. While some women may have put false information on a bc of their own volition, this statement comes out of nowhere. Absolutely no context. It suggests that there was a systematic program to place false information on a government document. Who put those thoughts and actions into women’s minds? Who instrumented falsification. If a systematic pattern of falsification is uncovered in even one diocese, the game is over.

    ICC brings up questions that most activists don’t use to any extent in campaigns simply because they cloud the issue of rights, bog down the argument, and is something a lot of people don’t want to deal with. Unethical and illegal practices are something to be investigated and exposed, but they are secondary to the immediate need to restore the rights of all adoptees. Eat first. Theory later. Besides, allegations against I agencies would be translated into “anti-adoption” sentiment and could backfire in the legislature where adoption is a sacred cow.

    Catholic confessional culture has met US pop confessional culture in the ICC’s “neutrality statement.” ICC brings attention to its own potential scandal by bringing their practices under scrutiny. If it just kept its mouth shut, nobody would be thinking about it Ironically, I know of no lawsuits against adoption providers in any state with unsealed obcs, though I’m sure some are warranted. The idea of protracted litigation is not exactly attractive to most people. Especially when it involves the RCC.

    The ICC would have been smarter to just to declare that it had no problem with the bill and would stay out of it. That’s what the Archbishop in Portland, Oregon did with no huge statement of explanation. It was not a controversial decision. But the ICC put its foot in it, and inquiring minds now want to know what the Illinois adoption industry wants and needs to hide.

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